ONEONTA, N.Y. – Junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) came up two assists shy of a triple-double, finishing with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, as No. 3 MIT defeated Skidmore College, 62-55, in the NCAA Division III tournament first round at Lambros Arena on Friday night. With the win, the Engineers (26-1) advance to the second round for the third time in four years and will face the winner of the game between host Hartwick and Farmingdale State University.
Kates shot eight-of-14 from the field and seven-for-10 from the foul line while also adding three steals. Senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and junior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) tied a career-high with 15 rebounds while scoring 12 points.
Senior Kyle Clark (New York, N.Y.) was a perfect six-for-six from the field en route to a team-high 14 points. Senior guard Gerard O'Shea (West Sand Lake, N.Y.) had 13 points, four assists and three boards for the Thoroughbreds. Skidmore launched 27 three-pointers, making nine, to help push the third-ranked Engineers to the very end.
After O'Shea's three-point play brought Skidmore within five with 9:16 to play, the Cardinal and Gray reeled off five straight points, a three-point play by Hollingsworth and a layup from Kates, to lead 54-44. Skidmore responded with a 7-0 run capped off by a three-ball from senior Terron Victoria (Albany, N.Y.) to cut the deficit back down to three with 5:37 to play.
The teams would then go nearly three minutes without a field goal before Clark's driving layup brought his team within two, 55-53, with 2:44 to go. Kates answered right back at the other end, however, to push the advantage back to four and, from there, the teams traded free-throws, with MIT making five-of-six from the line to close out the game.
Skidmore took an early 9-2 lead, behind five points by Clark, before Kates snapped the MIT drought with a fade-away jumper. Kates' jumper led to four straight buckets for the Engineers, capped by a Billy Bender (The Woodlands, Texas) three-pointer, to give MIT its first lead of the evening. Tech would outscore the Thoroughbreds 12-2 later in the half, between the 12 and eight-minute media timeouts, to take a 25-17 lead at the 7:07 mark.
The Engineers would eventually lead 34-24 at the intermission, as Kates and Tashman combined for 24 of MIT's 34 points in the opening stanza.
Tech shot 47.9% from the field (23-48) while owning a 40-23 advantage on the boards. MIT also outscored Skidmore, 34-20, in the paint.
MIT will await its opponent for the second round game, which will be played on Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m.